Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

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Nony
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by Nony » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:21 am

To address the second part first, I don't think non-goverment public defenders are that common (I'm presuming things like running a public defense clinic at a private university would fall into this category?). Public defender as PI is logical in the sense that you're representing indigent individuals, so it bears some (a lot of?) similarity to classic PI jobs like Legal Aid Services and prisoners' legal services. PDs also serve similar public interests to a lot of the criminal justice reform organizations which would count as PI. I guess my feeling though is that you need to treat the criminal justice side of things collectively - either it's all PI (writ broadly) or it's government (most of it) - and I wouldn't put defense and prosecution in such starkly separate categories (though I get that there are different interests involved; but on the day to day I would suggest that a PD's job has way more in common with a ADA's job than with an environmental activism job).

I think the thing is that there isn't an easy way to split things up and to be fair, the ABA's categories are really just about keeping track of employment and don't necessarily match an objective reality. Categorization depends on things like whether you're looking strictly at who a lawyer works for, or the daily circumstances of their job, or the interest they serve in the abstract (I would also disagree with the idea that prosecution doesn't serve the public interest, but that's a slightly different debate).

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Nebby
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by Nebby » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:26 am

I think the argument that law enforcement isn't "public interest" is because it assumes that all laws are in the public interest.

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Nony
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by Nony » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:19 am

1) prosecution isn’t the same as “law enforcement.” 2) the flip side to your assumption is assuming that the government is not in the public interest.

Like nothing about the categories requires you to agree with everything that prosecutors do or how the criminal justice system actually works in our country at this time, it’s just that conceptually, having prosecutors and a criminal justice system is in the public interest.

(Also if your argument is that not all laws are in the public interest, your problem is with legislators, not prosecutors.)

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Nebby
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by Nebby » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:49 am

No. One possible flip side of the assumption is that some laws can be in the public interest.

Prosecutors provide a necessary public service, but I don't think it's fair to conflate public service with public interest, if we're using the narrow public interest concept within the legal community.

Prosecutors are law enforcement. What else could they be? They literally enforce laws. Discretion doesn't change that.

Prosecutors may enforce unjust laws, which is not in the public interest. Unless you seriously believe in the "just doing my job" defense, then shifting focus to law makers isn't a good rebuttal.

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Nebby
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by Nebby » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:53 am

Besides, what do I know. I don't think in-house attorneys for hospitals are public interest attorneys, but others disagree.

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cavalier1138
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by cavalier1138 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:15 am

Not to totally derail this thread, but by that standard, defenders are equally not "public interest," because they help prevent guilty people from being punished. If a prosecutor isn't acting in the public interest by seeking an indictment under bad drug laws, then a public defender isn't acting in the public interest by discrediting a rape victim in order to see a good result for their client.

If the standard for "public interest" is that the work meets with universal approval, then no one works in that field.

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Nony
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by Nony » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:17 am

Nebby wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:49 am
No. One possible flip side of the assumption is that some laws can be in the public interest.

Prosecutors provide a necessary public service, but I don't think it's fair to conflate public service with public interest, if we're using the narrow public interest concept within the legal community.

Prosecutors are law enforcement. What else could they be? They literally enforce laws. Discretion doesn't change that.

Prosecutors may enforce unjust laws, which is not in the public interest. Unless you seriously believe in the "just doing my job" defense.
I think it’s clear we disagree about definitions here so there isn’t much point arguing further (the only thing I will add is that “law enforcement” normally refers specifically to cops, so it’s just a jargon issue).

In any case, the real point I wanted to make is that whatever you think of prosecutors, public defenders are normally lumped in with them under government, not separated out as PI (see the ABA categories), and I don’t think separating them out is very helpful (especially when considering the employment stats).

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Nebby
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by Nebby » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:38 am

Disclaimer: These are strong opinions, loosely-held. I am posting this for the sake of intellectual discussion and not meant to demean the work that any attorney does. The world needs prosecutors to function. They are a value-add to society. I just their the value is a difference in kind than, say, public defense.

*dusts off libertarian fedora*

Public defenders' primary purpose is to safeguard against state overreach and require the state to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. Requiring the state to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt before it restrains liberty is a core tenant of our legal philosophy.

One reason that we believe in this core tenant is because we fundamentally do not believe laws, merely because they exist, are in the public interest. Some laws may be in the public interest and some may not be, therefore we must have additional mechanisms in place that act as a check against laws not in the public interest. One of those mechanisms is the requirement that the state must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Another mechanism is jury nullification. Another mechanism is the Brady Rule.

Another mechanism is public defense. The defenders' role effectuates the requirement that the state prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, and therefore it is in the public interest. If the state can't prove its case, that is not the defenders' fault, but the state's. No "guilty" people go unpunished unless their sentences are commuted before serving or if they are pardoned before punishment.

Conversely, one could argue that the prosecutor likewise promotes the requirement that the state prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. However, that's not the prosecutors primary goal. The prosecutors primary goal is to enforce laws. A prosecutor is not fundamentally required to consider the justness of the law or whether it is in the public interest. Many prosecutors exercise their discretion in a way that considers these factors, but such discretion is not a fundamental requirement of the position.

Whereas the fundamental purpose of public defense is in the public interest because it fundamentally distrusts that all laws are in the public interest, the fundamental purpose of prosecution is the enforcement of laws, and because it's possible some such laws may not be in the public interest, then then prosecution is not necessarily in the public interest.

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Nony
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by Nony » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:42 am

1) tenet
2) I don’t think you actually understand much about prosecution. The primary goal is to do justice.
3) make sure you’re distinguishing between your own opinions and common usage
4) you’re derailing your own thread

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Nebby
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by Nebby » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:50 am

I understand prosecution. I interned in the crimes section of ENRD. I read and walked by the Prosecutor's Creed hanging up in the main hallway of the office almost every day. I came to respect and understand why people do the work of a prosecutor. I would hope that, if I was ever given the opportunity to be a prosecutor (which I would do, by the way, if it was environmental crimes), that I would be able to pursue what I thought was the most just outcome.

But I would also be frank with anyone and admit "to do justice" is about as vacuous as Donald Trump's skull.

I can't derail my own thread--it's mine!

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Nebby
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by Nebby » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:55 am

*enters networking social for public interest attorneys*

"Hi! I'm Tim."
"Hi Tim, what do you do?"
"I work for a local legal services organization that provides services for indignant survivors of domestic and sexual abuse and assault. What about you?"
"I'm inhouse for a billion dollar hospital system and handle transactional matters."
"Oh...."

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Rowdy
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by Rowdy » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:16 am

Nebby wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:55 am
I know this isn't a Nebby AMA but I'm curious:

What do you do and how did your school help you get there? Lmk if you would rather I PM you or if I should go kick molehills.

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Nebby
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by Nebby » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:51 am

Rowdy wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:16 am
Nebby wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:55 am
I know this isn't a Nebby AMA but I'm curious:

What do you do and how did your school help you get there? Lmk if you would rather I PM you or if I should go kick molehills.
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=130

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Rowdy
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by Rowdy » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:59 am

Ty I should have just stalked your post history

Gorrest_Fump
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by Gorrest_Fump » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:51 pm

FWIW NYU's PILC, their PI-support office, maintains a dedicated number of advisors whose duty/expertise is in securing government jobs for the students (including ADA and PD work).

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Tsuga
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by Tsuga » Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:50 pm

Nebby wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:38 am
Disclaimer: These are strong opinions, loosely-held. I am posting this for the sake of intellectual discussion and not meant to demean the work that any attorney does. The world needs prosecutors to function. They are a value-add to society. I just their the value is a difference in kind than, say, public defense.

*dusts off libertarian fedora*

Public defenders' primary purpose is to safeguard against state overreach and require the state to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. Requiring the state to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt before it restrains liberty is a core tenant of our legal philosophy.

One reason that we believe in this core tenant is because we fundamentally do not believe laws, merely because they exist, are in the public interest. Some laws may be in the public interest and some may not be, therefore we must have additional mechanisms in place that act as a check against laws not in the public interest. One of those mechanisms is the requirement that the state must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Another mechanism is jury nullification. Another mechanism is the Brady Rule.

Another mechanism is public defense. The defenders' role effectuates the requirement that the state prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, and therefore it is in the public interest. If the state can't prove its case, that is not the defenders' fault, but the state's. No "guilty" people go unpunished unless their sentences are commuted before serving or if they are pardoned before punishment.

Conversely, one could argue that the prosecutor likewise promotes the requirement that the state prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. However, that's not the prosecutors primary goal. The prosecutors primary goal is to enforce laws. A prosecutor is not fundamentally required to consider the justness of the law or whether it is in the public interest. Many prosecutors exercise their discretion in a way that considers these factors, but such discretion is not a fundamental requirement of the position.

Whereas the fundamental purpose of public defense is in the public interest because it fundamentally distrusts that all laws are in the public interest, the fundamental purpose of prosecution is the enforcement of laws, and because it's possible some such laws may not be in the public interest, then then prosecution is not necessarily in the public interest.
As a layperson/0L, I think this connection between "distrusting that all laws are in the public interest" and "requiring the state prove its case beyond reasonable doubt" is really tenuous. You could believe that all laws are in the public interest and want the state to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, because you don't want any innocent people going to jail. You could also believe that not all laws are in the public interest and not want the state to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, because you'd rather imprison 9 guilty and 1 innocent than imprison 5 guilty, release 4 guilty, and release 1 innocent. And to what extent do PDs exercise their discretion in considering the justness of the law, or whether it is in the public interest? Don't they defend any indigent person accused of a crime, without discretion?

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walks
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by walks » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:18 pm

This might be a really dumb question but what's the benefit of taking some scholarship money instead of paying sticker if someone definitely plans on taking advantage of a school's LRAP? Obviously graduating debt free is a different story, but say the choice was between a Butler at Columbia and sticker at Harvard; where's the advantage in taking 150k instead of 270k loans if one's monthly contribution is only dependant on income?

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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by brut » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:07 pm

walks wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:18 pm
This might be a really dumb question but what's the benefit of taking some scholarship money instead of paying sticker if someone definitely plans on taking advantage of a school's LRAP? Obviously graduating debt free is a different story, but say the choice was between a Butler at Columbia and sticker at Harvard; where's the advantage in taking 150k instead of 270k loans if one's monthly contribution is only dependant on income?
notwithstanding the doomsday prophesying about pslf, i think the main thing is flexibility, i.e., being able to step off the pi track if you decide it's not for you
the other thing to keep in mind is that some named scholarships for pi are known quantities and have strong networks, that's probably more the exception than the rule though

studyandretake
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by studyandretake » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:55 am

Hey - does anyone have any thoughts about how CUNY factors in? I'm a New Yorker, in at CUNY, up for some significant $. I am waiting to hear back from a lot of places before it's decision time but I am really curious how CUNY will play if I am looking for jobs other than NYC direct service public interest. Anybody have any thoughts on this? I've looked at the ABA statistics, but they don't break down "public interest" in the same way that they do firms (size, etc) and since so many large non-profits are based in NYC it's hard to tell who is getting what jobs more specifically.

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by brut » Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:50 pm

studyandretake wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:55 am
Hey - does anyone have any thoughts about how CUNY factors in? I'm a New Yorker, in at CUNY, up for some significant $. I am waiting to hear back from a lot of places before it's decision time but I am really curious how CUNY will play if I am looking for jobs other than NYC direct service public interest. Anybody have any thoughts on this? I've looked at the ABA statistics, but they don't break down "public interest" in the same way that they do firms (size, etc) and since so many large non-profits are based in NYC it's hard to tell who is getting what jobs more specifically.

Thanks in advance.
cuny has a troublingly high underemployment score and has almost doubled 1L class size in the last few years
you say specifically that you're curious about jobs other than nyc direct services. if by this mean you mean impact/other competitive pi positions, i can say with confidence avoid, esp since you'll be competing w/ cls and nyu students (and hys etc) for jobs

Eel2144
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by Eel2144 » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:08 pm

What are people’s thoughts on the likelihood of loan foregiveness being pulled out from under us? I am attempting to choose between a full ride PI scholarship at BU and about 1/2 tuition from Michigan, while still waiting to hear about scholarships from GULC and NU. I’m leaning towards GULC because of its LRAP, but with the IBR plan basically paying off only interest, I would be totally screwed without loan foregiveness. I imagine others are grappling with similar questions.
Last edited by Eel2144 on Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Stranger
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by Stranger » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:35 pm

Eel2144 wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:08 pm
What are people’s thoughts on the likelihood of loan foregiveness being pulled out from under us? I am attempting to choose between a full ride PI scholarship at BU and about 1/2 tuition from Michigan, while still waiting to hear about scholarships from GULC and NU. I’m leaning towards GULC because of it’s LRAP, but with the IBR plan basically paying off only interest, I would be totally screwed without loan foregiveness. I imagine others are grappling with similar questions.
The current proposal in the budget is to yank PSLF out from under folks starting in later years. Class of 2021 is safe under the proposal. Not ure if that will pass unmodified, of course, but the odds are against us being denied the option.

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Nebby
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by Nebby » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:37 pm

Eel2144 wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:08 pm
What are people’s thoughts on the likelihood of loan foregiveness being pulled out from under us? I am attempting to choose between a full ride PI scholarship at BU and about 1/2 tuition from Michigan, while still waiting to hear about scholarships from GULC and NU. I’m leaning towards GULC because of it’s LRAP, but with the IBR plan basically paying off only interest, I would be totally screwed without loan foregiveness. I imagine others are grappling with similar questions.
My personal opinion is that, with only 51 Republicans in the senate, it's unlikely that they would be able to reach the 60 vote necessary.

In addition, I don't know if PSLF could be repealed through reconciliation. If it can, which only requires 51 votes, the Republicans can only lose 2 votes. This puts their odds higher, but it's unlikely that many of the moderate republicans would straight up repeal PSLF like the President wants.

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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by Snow » Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:57 pm

Nony wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:42 am
I don’t think you actually understand much about prosecution. The primary goal is to do justice.
I realize I'm coming to this conversation way too late, and it's probably unwise to stir the pot again, but just lol at the above naïveté.

Please spend like 15 minutes in a courthouse in New Orleans. Or go on Westlaw and read some appellate opinions in Alabama death penalty cases. Should disabuse you of this notion pretty quickly. That's the ideal, certainly, but it's far from the reality in most of this country.

Nebby's argument is pretty far off too. His points would be better framed around the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, not the beyond a reasonable doubt standard. The reason that defending a rapist isn't morally bankrupt is that the rapist has a right to due process and a fair trial. The reason that prosecuting a drug addict is morally bankrupt is because the prosecutor has the discretion not to do so.

Anyway, sorry again for the semi-necro. If anyone here is thinking about a career in criminal law, don't let these civil lawyers give you the wrong ideas. The world needs good public defenders and is even more desperate for good prosecutors.

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Nony
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Re: Public Interest Megathread for T14s (employment data, resources, testimonials)

Post by Nony » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:04 pm

Snow wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:57 pm
Nony wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:42 am
I don’t think you actually understand much about prosecution. The primary goal is to do justice.
I realize I'm coming to this conversation way too late, and it's probably unwise to stir the pot again, but just lol at the above naïveté.

Please spend like 15 minutes in a courthouse in New Orleans. Or go on Westlaw and read some appellate opinions in Alabama death penalty cases. Should disabuse you of this notion pretty quickly. That's the ideal, certainly, but it's far from the reality in most of this country.

Nebby's argument is pretty far off too. His points would be better framed around the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, not the beyond a reasonable doubt standard. The reason that defending a rapist isn't morally bankrupt is that the rapist has a right to due process and a fair trial. The reason that prosecuting a drug addict is morally bankrupt is because the prosecutor has the discretion not to do so.

Anyway, sorry again for the semi-necro. If anyone here is thinking about a career in criminal law, don't let these civil lawyers give you the wrong ideas. The world needs good public defenders and is even more desperate for good prosecutors.
So I wasn't talking about how things actually work currently, but the purpose. I get that there are lots of reasons to object to how prosecution works in this country, but "to do justice" is actually the goal/purpose, not just to strong-arm enforce the laws. I was objecting only to the latter description of the purpose, not defending how that plays out in reality.

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